Sure, New York might make you think of top-tier pizza and bagels, but don’t forget about the plentiful seafood options the city holds. Especially during the summertime, you can find some of the freshest finds around! With this list, we created the entire rundown on where you can find the best oysters in NYC, the best happy hour deals, and the best quality seafood in the city. Here are the spots that make our list:
1. The Mermaid Inn, UWS & Chelsea
The Mermaid Inn is first on our list, boasting two different locations in both the Upper West Side and Chelsea. This New England-esque eatery comes complete with affordable seafood, $1.25 oysters and clams, and other favorites such as fish tacos, shrimp sliders, and so much more. Plus, we love their happy hour drink specials that run everyday from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm! If oysters aren’t your thing, give their lobster sandwich on a brioche bun a try! Need we say less…
UWS – 570 Amsterdam Ave
Chelsea – 227 10th Ave
2. Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant, Midtown
You can’t get a restaurant any more special than one directly located in the historical Grand Central Station. Serving food out of the famous train station for over 25 years, the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant has some of the best oysters in NYC, and is perfect for any occasion you may be after. Whether you sit in the dining room and have some time to kill, or you need a quick fix from the take-out window before you catch your train, this is the perfect place to pit stop. Their 25+ varieties of fish and shellfish and their extensive wine list makes this an absolute must-visit.
Where: 89 E 42nd St, Grand Central Terminal (Lower Level)
3. Upstate Craft Beer & Oyster Bar, East Village
Upstate Craft Beer & Oyster Bar brings some Upstate charm into the East Village with it’s nearly 2 dollar oysters and constantly rotating seafood menu. You won’t find a menu when you search for this restaurant online, and that’s what makes it even more intriguing to stop in. Their selection is often small, but extremely curated with the best oysters and seafood from both coasts. Plus, as the name suggests, their collection of Upstate beers and lagers they serve alongside their seafood is a breath of fresh air, especially if you’re into discovering new brands and breweries.
Where: 95 1st Ave
4. Cull & Pistol Oyster Bar, Chelsea
Cull & Pistol is a Michelin-approved oyster bar that knows how to prepare some delicious seafood. They work in tandem with their wholesale provider The Lobster Place, that sits next door in Chelsea Market, insuring the quality is up to standard. Why we love it though is their $1 oyster happy hours and different lobster options. If you work around Chelsea or end up near the Market, be sure to give this spot a go.
Where: 75 9th Ave
5. Jeffery’s Grocery, West Village
What once started as a half raw bar, half grocery store, has since dropped the latter part of its business to focus on its one-of-a-kind seafood. Jeffrey’s Grocery is notoriously known for its oyster bar, where you can find $1.50 oysters during their weekly happy hour deal. They also have a variety of other fish-inspired dishes, but we recommend sitting at the raw bar and enjoying the oysters. Their atmosphere and staff is lively and friendly, which gives it that extra boost of hospitality that you won’t find at many places.
Where: 172 Waverly Pl
6. Balthazar, SoHo
Balthazar is a French brasserie that doubles not only as a seafood spot with some of the best oysters in NYC, but also incredible brunch. Step into this eclectic atmosphere at any time during the day and expect a quality meal. While they also specialize in French classics like French Onion soup and escargot, their true gem is their raw bar that includes over 15 varieties of oysters, along with tons of clams and shellfish too. No matter which time of day you stop in here for, you’ll be sure to have a memorable meal.
Where: 80 Spring St
7. Grand Banks, Tribeca
In the mood for some waterfront views?! Grand Banks on Pier 25 is a floating oyster bar that serves delectable seafood and nautical-themed cocktails. The oysters are gathered sustainably from the East & West Coast, guaranteeing them to be top-notch among the competition. Plus, they’re partnered with the non-profit Maritime Foundation who raise money for sustainable fishing. A great meal at a great restaurant representing a great cause! Be sure to try out one of their signature cocktails too like the “Permanent Vacation” or the “Crew Spritz.”
Where: Pier 25, Hudson River Park
8. Mermaid Oyster Bar, Greenwich Village
Sister joint to the aforementioned Mermaid Inn, is a strictly oyster bar, Mermaid Oyster Bar, located in Greenwich Village. Compared to the other restaurants, this joint is strictly an oyster bar and it’s exactly where you want to be if you’re after fresh oysters. Sourced from both coasts, the lovely staff at this raw bar will help you browse through their perfect selection of oysters. Their happy hour is from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm, and offers $1.25 oysters plus so many other deals. A great place to get the bang for your buck!
Where: 89 MacDougal Street
9. Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co, Greenpoint
Find yourself in Brooklyn? Head over to Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co to talk fish with their staff of chefs, fish buyers, and restaurant staff. This restaurant’s focus is on sustainable seafood, and they take pride in using every bit of their fish in the cooking process. Since opening in 2014, they’ve been serving oysters on the half shell, lobster rolls, tuna burgers and so much more ever since. This seafood spot definitely gives off the “family” vibe and its shown through their cuisine. Plus, if you truly love the meal, stop at their market on the way out to pick up some ingredients so you can make it at home!
Where: 114 Nassau Ave, Greenpoint
10. ROKC, Harlem
ROKC: Ramen, Oysters, Kitchen, and Cocktails. These are the four elements that make up this intimate Harlem dining spot. During their happy hour, you can get their oysters at a cheap $1.50 per, which go particularly well with their signature cocktails that are served out of conch shells. Of course, their ramen is also tasty and customizable, but their drink selection and oyster special is what really makes them stand out from the rest.
Where: 3452 Broadway
11. Crave Fishbar, Midtown & UWS
Deemed “NYC’s first 100% sustainable seafood restaurant,” Crave Fishbar is a NYC staple that serves some of the most creative seafood dishes in their respective neighborhoods. Their #Oystergram happy hour program has taken on a life of its own in the city, and offers some of the freshest imported oysters from both the East and West coasts. Be sure to stop in everyday from 4 pm – 6 pm to take advantage of their oyster happy hour of $1.50 – $2 oysters depending on the type.
Midtown – 945 2nd Ave
UWS – 428 Amsterdam Ave
12. Ed’s Lobster Bar, SoHo
Just because Ed’s Lobster Bar has “lobster” in the name doesn’t mean their $2 oyster happy hour deal isn’t to brag about. It’s worthy and their selection of oysters is decent to choose from. Of course, we can’t hide the fact that the lobster at this spot may just be the best in the city, so if you’re willing to branch out from oysters, at least consider something from their “Lobster Bar” Menu!
Where: 155 Grand St
13. Littleneck, Gowanus
Littleneck is our favorite little charming seafood restaurant located in the quiet neighborhood of Gowanus. What seems like it’d be straight out of the New England coastline, their relaxed nautical atmosphere provides an inviting experience for a date night or family dinner. Their oysters and clams start at $1.50 a piece, and are the perfect pairing to a small plate or even a main entree. Top it off with one of their signature cocktails like the “Gowanus Sunset” or the “Jake’s Harbor” and you really can’t go wrong!
Where: 288 3rd Ave, Brooklyn
14. Sel Rrose, LES
Nestled in LES is Sel Rrose, a seafood spot with an artisan interior, bar stools, and overall genuine oyster bar atmosphere. Mario Diaz is the executive chef, and his creations certainly do not disappoint. In terms of oysters, there are a variety of East Coast imports that make the menu, and even go for $2 a pop during their 4 pm – 7 pm happy hour on Monday-Friday. For other recommendations, we love the house “Sel Rrose Burger” with the truffle fries upgrade!
Where: 1 Delancey St
15. Maison Premiere, Williamsburg
Maison Premiere is an oyster bar and absinthe cafe joint affair, where the oysters and drinks are both equally thrilling. The interior takes “inspiration from hotel lobbies and grand restaurants of New York, Paris, and New Orleans” all while distinctly establishing its own identity. Their unbeatable $1 oysters during happy hour (4 pm – 7 pm Monday-Friday and 11 am – 1 pm Saturday-Sunday) is the star of the show, and they have some some of the best cocktails in Brooklyn too. If you’re up for it, give one of their famous absinthe concoctions a try, but if not you really can’t go wrong with one of their other cocktails.
Where: 298 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg
16. Avra Estiatorio, Midtown & Rockefeller Center
Step out onto Avra Estiatorio’s outdoor patio on the Avenue of the Americas to have an oyster experience like none-other. Their oyster selection ranges of types from both the East and West coasts. Plus, they have tons of other raw offerings as well, such as Maine Lobster Cocktail, Jumbo Shrimp, Cocktail Shrimp, and more. What we suggest though is going with a group and trying out their Raw Sampler Royale, which is a smorgasbord of seafood that you can get for 2 or 4 people.
Avra Estiatorio Rockefeller Center – 1271 Avenue of the Americas
Midtown – 141 E 48th St
17. The Clam, West Village
Our last stop on the oyster tour goes to The Clam, where you’ll find not only some of the best oysters in NYC, but the entire east coast. Led by Executive Chef Mike Price, they have one of the best oyster happy hours, offering $2 oysters from 3 pm – 5 pm, Tuesday through Saturdays. What leaves us drooling at The Clam is their variety of mignonette sauces they put over the oysters. Our favorites include the chili lime and champagne mignonettes, which brings your tastebuds on a flavorful journey.
Where: 420 Hudson St